LIVE COVER: Najib and police go beserk: Unprecedented bloodshed in KL
Malaysia Chronicle ends its live coverage here.
7.00m pm Unconfirmed reports that 1 of the 2 or 3 people who were pinned by a police car that was eventually overturned in the rescue attempt have died.
6.45 pm Still thousands in the Wisma Jamek area. The police have started attacking them again. The brutality is stunning, reports Malaysia Chronicle's Nawawi. Many instances of people being beaten up with the cops going after stubborn protesters refusing to disperse in ratios of 4 or 5 to 1.
6.30 pm Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim on Twitter to calm supporters fearful he might be arrested. He estimates at least 100 arrests. Bar Council Legal Aid Center providing urgent arrest assistance for #Bersih3.0 - 0162288142, 0122751660 & 0193178347.
6.00 pm Scores of arrests have been made including several politicians. PKR's Tian Chua tweeted out that he had arrived at Pulapol, the police training centre, where the detainees have been sent.
5.30 pm News of arrests all over town. Speculation again Najib might have created situation to trigger curfew. But the crowd is not dispersing still. Reports of police brutality and behavior that was "even worse than Nazri's son" (minister Nazri Aziz) keep filtering in.
5.15 pm One guy was beaten up so we had to 5 of us carried him to an ambulance nearby, FRU were loading weapons #BersihReport#Bersih
We dumped him into the ambulance and had to run back and BANG, one fella in front me got hit in the head with a canister #BersihReport
5.00 pm At Wsima Jamek LRT station area, people are coming back. Some are angry and want to have it out with the police.
"How to disperse when LRT stations are closed, roads are blocked?" PKR leader Elizabeth Wong tweeted.
4.50 pm One police officer threw a rubbish bin on the street but the crowd did not retaliate. Instead they picked up the rubbish and cleared the area.
4.20 pm The crowd in front of the Pudu Setral-Maybank is starting to get restless and some even threw water bottles at a passing police van and booing the police trucks passing by.
4.15 pm News of the unwarranted attacks against the peaceful assemblers have reached the international community, who expressed disappointment that the Najib government has still not learned its lesson despite the odium it attracted due to an unprecedented crackdown during July 9, 2011 Bersih 2.0 rally.
“By launching a crackdown on peaceful Bersih 3 protesters on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian government is once again showing its contempt for its people’s basic rights and freedoms. Despite all the talk of ‘reform’ over the past year, we’re seeing a repeat of repressive actions by a government that does not hesitate to use force when it feels its prerogatives are challenged," Phil Robertson, deputy director of Asia division, Human Rights Watch said in aemail received by Malaysia Chronicle.
"Malaysia’s diplomatic and trade partners, and foreign investors, should demand the government change tactics and recognize civil society’s right to raise fundamental concerns about respect for rights and good governance.”
Najib and police fail human rights test: Tear gas water fired without warning
4.00 pm Crowds fleeing from tear gas and acid water fired by the police have gathered around the Pudu Sentral area. Apparently, many are dissatisfied and want to sit on the Dataran Merdeka padang. The crowd of some 5,000 are mostly standing around the Pudu Sentral - Maybank area.
3.45 pm Crowd starting to disperse but the LRT stations are still chock-a-block. The air is starting to clear at Wisma Jamek area and some who walked off are coming back.
3.40 pm Tear gas fired w/out warning. At least 18 shots at Dataran. PDRM continues firing as of now #bersih3
Crowd at Wisma Jamek shout Bersih Bersih even as tear gas fired
3.35 pm Bersih marshal and PAS' Unit Amal brigade have come to the fore, telling the people to sit down and cover their faces. In Masjid Jamek, the protestors have refused to run away. They are chanting "Bersih, Bersih" despite the tear gas fired.
"Let this be a warning to Najib Razak, the people will not stand for this type of petty rule," Tian told Malaysia Chronicle.
3.30 pm "We've opened doors to teargas victims. People fainting outside" #bersih
3.25 It is telling that just an hour before the tear gas was fired, Phil Robertson, deputy director of Asia division, Human Rights Watch had warned:
"Today is a major test case for basic freedoms in Malaysia, starting with the right to peacefully march and assemble. The big question is whether or not the Malaysian police will permit the Bersih 3 event to take place without harassment or violence,” said Phil in an email received by Malaysia Chronicle.
NAJIB TURNS NASTY: COPS FIRE TEAR GAS INTO CROWD, PREVENT DISPERSAL
3.20 pm In a shock move, it looks like the Najib administration has started to move in on the people. It looks like a co-ordinated plan aimed to blame the Pakatan Rakyat led by Opposition Leader for creating the chaos.
"They don't want you to disperse. They want you to suffer," one Bersih supporter tweeted out.
3.15 pm Tear gas fired on Jln Raja Laut. People marching to Sogo/Jln Sultan Ismail #BersihReport
3.00 pm Tear gas and water cannons fired into Jalan Tun Perak-Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman intersection. "Cops block public running away from tear gas, only allowing journalists through. #bersih
"About 150,000 to 200,000 from Dataran to Chinatown"
2.40 pm Meanwhile, the crowd at Wisma Jamek has spilled over to the Medan Pasar square in Lebuh Ampang. "People are still coming in from the LRT station, but it is very had to move forward anymore towards the Dataran, it is too packed," reported Nawawi.
2.30 pm Almost all sides of the Dataran Merdeka are now covered by crowds of people. For as far as the eye can see is a sea of yellow. "About 150,000 to 200,000 from Dataran to Chinatown but I am not sure about the crowds from KLCC and Masjid Negara," said Tian.
2.20 pm Umno Youth Chief Khairy Jamaluddin appears to have it his mission to gun down Azmin Ali, pointing to the way Azmin addressed the crowd sitting by the side of the Dataran and the way supporters hoisetd him onto their shoulders as 'proof' that the Bersih 3.0 rally had been hijacked by the Pakatan Rakyat.
"Just so there is no doubt about the hijacking. “@insider_latest: Azmin Ali being hoisted up by supporters," Khairy said on Twitter.
He earned a rap on the knuckles from his opposition rivals.
"That is just 'budak' talk from KJ. Of course, Pakatan will support 100% the Bersih's push for clean and fair elections. That doesn't mean Bersih committee is not independent. Ask him to try and see. Bersih committee will show him who's boss, but this concept of civil society working together with leaders is totally foreig to Umno," slammed PKR vice president Tian Chua.
2.10 pm Meanwhile, reports have been filtering in of successful sister rallies in other countries. The rally in Hong Kong drew at least 400 Malaysians so far. In Sarawak, reports of a "very happening" rally drew warm praise from netizens.
DATARAN DOES NOT BELONG TO DBKL
2.05pm Meanwhile, protesters from Pasar Seni sit down in front of the police block at Jalan Lebuh Pasar Besar, next to Bar Council building, still singing and chanting Bersih slogans. Ambiga and Azmin Ali address the crowd.
"Do you want to sit on the Dataran," asks Azmin.
"Yes," roared back the crowd.
"Well, Dataran doesn't belong to the DBKL," said Azmin, raising another roar of approval from the crowd.
1.55 pm DAP MP for PJ Utara Tony Pua and Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar are now at Masjid Jamek, together with some of the Bersih steering committee members. Izzah makes a short speech.
MARCH TOWARDS THE DATARAN BEGINS FOR PASAR SENI GROUP
1.45 pm The march towards the Dataran begins for the Pasar Seni group. They are walking along Jalan Tan Cheng Lock and into Jalan Tun HS Lee. Buses stopped to let the people pass through while the police did not interfere.
1.40 pm Video showing crowd at Pasar Seni at 1pm. They are shouting Bankit Bangkit Bangkit Rakyat. Hidup Hidup Hidup Rakyat!
1.33 pm It seems that Bersih has sold more than a million T-shirts so far. However, it has yet to be confirmed and sounds a bit on the high side.
1.30 pm The latest topic of discussion amongst the participants in Wisma Jamek as they try to inch their way towards the Dataran is the crowd size. One news portal has estimated 50,000 which was immediate debunked.
"Much much more than that, just here in Wisma Jamek is easily way above 50,000," Bob Kee, an activist and IT expert, told Malaysia Chronicle.
"I'm standing at the JalanTun Perak traffic light. Its easily more than 100,000. The Umno media will surely try to minimise the number, don't be surprised if the mainstream media reports 5,000 people even. But for sure 50,000 is an intentional understatement. It is so obviously more," Shanker, an ex-accountant and active blogger, toldMalaysia Chronicle.
1.25 PM According to Al Jazeera, FRU trucks and water cannons are on stand by at Dataran Merdeka. Dispersal calls are also being made.
MALAYSIANS AFRAID NO MORE: BN HAS LOST ITS GRIP ON THE PEOPLE
1.20 pm Kuantan residents and anti-Lynas campaigners shouting Stop Lynas Stop Lynas and Hidup Rakyat begin theIR march from KLCC to the Dataran where they will show solidarity with the Bersih 3.0 rally for free and fair elections.
1.10 pm Karpal Singh arrives at Wisma Jamek and is being wheeled through the crowd which raises a cheer at the sight of the smiling DAP chairman. There is no inch of standing space left. Everyone is now looking up and wanting to move to the Dataran. "I want to see the Dataran," said a student protester from one of the Selangor colleges.
1.00 pm Crowd at Pasar Seni now far exceeds 10,000. An air of anticipation has set in, and they people are looking up, waiting for the signal to move to the Dataran Merdeka.
"I spoke to some of the people and they said it was a bad move by City Hall to refuse the venue. There are many groups all engrossed in discussing and arguing over the details of the run up to today's rally and this insistence by the BN to always deny Bersih its choice of venue seems to be a sore point," Chong Yen Long reported for Malaysia Chronicle.
12.50 pm PKR deputy president Azmin Ali arrives at Wisma Jamek. The crowds are sitting on streets now. Some are hoping Axmin will make a speech. Many are openly defying police instructions not to sit on the road. "too many of us, the police cannot do anything," said one of rally participants.
"Why should anyone feel afraid. We are Malaysians, this is our country," said Azmin Ali, also the MP for Gombak.
12.30 pm Malaysia Chronicle's Nawawi Mohamad, standing in front of Wisma Kraftangan, says impossible to estimate crowd size. "For as far as I can see , both ends of the very long road and all the sidewalks are crammed with people. All jam-packed and back to back, and they are happily shouting Reformasi. Non-stop, they are shouting and switching from Bersih Bersih Hidup Bersih to Reformasi Reformasi Reformasi!"
RECORD CROWD: ALL OVER KL, CHANTS OF BERSIH BERSIH BERSIH!
12.05 pm Crowd control at the main entry points - the LRT stations around the town centre - and at all 6 meeting points good. Rapport between different ethnic groups, young and old strong. A Bersih 2.0 veteran tells Malaysia Chronicle that this time, everyone seems to know what they are here for - "they all just want Najib and BN to stop the cheating and corruption".
12.00 noon DAP advisor Lim Kit Siag tweets from Masjid Negara, one of the designated 6 gathering points: Arrd @ Masjid Negara meeting point - sea of yellow symbolising hopes of all Msians regardless of race religion region politics 4 better Msia
11.50 am "So far, Najib has not said a word. But he doesn't have to. Even if he does, nobody wants to listen anymore," PKR MP for Batu Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle. He was referring to the last minute U-turns and reneging of assurances by the agencies such as getting a court order to ban the 2-hour sit-in protest, a move that had sent waves of red-hot anger across the nation at Najib's high-handedness over what the matter.
11.40 am Video of the Bersih 3.0 rally up to 10.30am. It looks like even the girls - young and old - are out today, chipping their bit for Malaysia to have clean and fair elections. Spontaneous cheering of Bersih, Bersih, Bersih show the pent-up feelings of the people, who do not want to be held back anymore by a corrupt Najib administration that has tried to suppress them by ramming through unfair laws and playing racist card through ultra rights groups such as Perkasa and Jati.
RAKYAT SNUB NAJIB AND HIS THREATS
11.30 am Over at Central Market, there are about 10,000 people, mostly youths. They are singing Negaraku and in a jovial mood. On in petaling Street, where large crowds had also gathered i last year's landmark July 9 rally, many can be spotted waving placards and banners.
11.20 am Bersih 'front-liners' - experienced activists from NGOs tasked to help and marshal the crowd - are all smiles. Many have been rushing around to help out as much as possible, but they look energized by the sight of the rakay (people) are trooping in.
"This is going to exceed our expectations. Just look at the wave of people coming in. They don't look at all scare, they are so orderly and well-behaved. We are so proud,"one the marshals told Malaysia Chronicle.
11.15 am About 500 police grouping under the main porch of the KLCC Suria mall. They are being briefed by a senior.
11.05 am At the KLCC-Petronas Twin Tower area, another group is forming under the Himpunan Hijau 3.0 banner. Himpunan Hijau aims to protest and thwart the establishment of the Lynas rare earth refinery in Gebeng, Pahang. Already there are scores of supporters waiting for Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh to lead in a march to the Dataran where they will join forces with Bersih, which is a platform for free and fair elections.
11.00 am police presence is heavy at the Masjid Jamek area, with the officers blocking off exit by exit as they try to control the number of people going through to the Dataran Merdeka, which is just a kilometer away from the station.
10.45 am Since early morning, Kuala Lumpur has been busy, waking at least 3 hours earlier than usual. An air of excitement is in the air. Today, April 28, is D-Day for the Bersih 3.0 rally due to take place across the nation and 71 cities in 29 countries.
Prime Minister Najib Razak has already abandoned all pretense of cool, launching a dragnet across the capital city where the main rally to demand free and fair elections will be held.
The Bersih 3.0 organizers had initially aimed to hold a sit-in protest at the Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur, but permission was denied and a court order issued to bar not only Bersih supporters but also members of the public from coming into the square.
Nonetheless, that has not stopped Bersih co-chief Ambiga Sreenevasan from vowing to take the rally participants to as close to Dataran as possible. It doesn't seem to have frightened off the public either.
Indeed, Malaysians from all over the country have been making their way into the city centre from as early as 6am, using public transportation such buses and the LRT.
Bersih 3.0 - which has targeted a total participation size of 500,000 from all the rallies being held in the country and overseas - looks set to be another astounding success.
There are six places to gather - at Pasar Seni, Masjid Negara, KLCC, Brickfields, Jalan Sultan dan Masjid India - before moving on towards the Dataran.
Meanwhile, Malaysia Chronicle's Nawawi Mohamad reports long queues for tickets at the Masjid Jamek LRT station from as early as 8am onwards. "Each trip is full of Bersih members, around 80 to 90%. The carriages are packed and the members are both young and old."